The new study looked at 1,748 people aged 45 to 80 with a history of heart attack, angina, or stroke. They were assigned to one of these groups:
For four years, the participants continued their supplements, and their thinking (cognitive) function was assessed at the end of the study. No significant effects on brain function were found in the different supplement groups, but looking just at people who had had a stroke yielded different results. Post-stroke, people who took a combination of B-vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids were significantly less likely to score low on a test of the ability to accurately name the month, date, year, day of the week, and time of day (temporal orientation task) than those who took placebo.
While this study only found relatively slight evidence, it makes a good starting place for further research. “These results could be useful in interventions aimed at preventing cognitive decline in high-risk individuals,” said lead study author, Valentina Andreeva, of the University of Paris XIII.
As the world’s population continues to get older, problems related to aging also grow, including the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Alzheimer’s currently affects 1 in 8 people aged 65 and older.
Advancing age is the foremost risk factor for developing dementia. Addressing other risk factors—those that you can actually do something about—might be the most effective way to prevent the disease from developing. Modifiable risk factors for dementia include
If these risk factors look familiar, it’s because they’re some of the same ones for heart disease. In fact, about 30% of people who experience a stroke will go on to have dementia.
While there is no cure for dementia, studies point to the power of prevention. See your doctor if you are concerned about your memory, and try these tips to keep your brain healthy for the long haul.
(Am J Clin Nutr 2011;doi:10.3945/ajcn.110.006320)